interview with yoga teacher marylene henry on taking her online teacher training

Can You Become a Yoga Instructor with Online Yoga Teacher Training?

Marylene Henry has been helping dedicated yogis become yoga instructors in Bali and around the world since 2016. When the global pandemic began in 2020, she was among the first yoga instructors to pivot to providing yoga certification online with her proprietary, “go-at-your-own-speed” online yoga teacher training program. She shares her perspective on the advantages and the pitfalls of becoming a yoga instructor in our new virtual world.

YOG TIMES: What made you decide to start providing yoga certification online?

Marylene Henry: Delivering online education is not something new for me. I was among the first college students in Canada to test learning in a primarily online format, and ever since, I have always preferred the flexibility of the virtual classroom. In my past corporate life, I managed and trained remote teams around the world and loved how we could feel so close while so far apart.

When it comes to yoga, I was always disappointed that the Yoga Alliance would not recognize online yoga teacher training programs. When the pandemic changed that, I saw a genuinely exciting opportunity to offer my course in a more convenient and cost-effective format for my students.

YT: How is teaching yoga certification online different than in-person?

Marylene Henry: It’s an entirely different game! And a lot more work. Teacher trainers cannot just take a camera and film or stream what they would typically teach face-to-face. To be comparable to the offline experience, online yoga teacher training programs must have a whole system in place to support students, provide feedback, assess the students’ comprehension, and encourage interactions. Without this strategic focus on interactive learning, any online course risks being ineffective and potentially injurious.

YT: What are the benefits of studying yoga online?

Marylene Henry: Aside from the obvious lower cost and the convenience of learning from home, what impressed me the most in our online yoga teacher training is how much more personal it is. Our format allows us to give each student our undivided attention, provide quality feedback without being rushed by a schedule, or be distracted by other students. The rate of progress we witness in our online training is far beyond what I’ve seen in in-person training, thanks to that.

I also feel that there are higher quality interactions since our students do not think that they are stealing time and attention from others. They are more open to ask questions and make sure that they understood everything correctly. Another great advantage is that students can revisit the lecture as often as they want, even after graduation. It gives them a lot more confidence.

YT: I guess there are also disadvantages?

Marylene Henry: For sure. Learning online requires much more discipline, and it’s easy to get off track. That’s why we frequently check-in on our students to make sure that they keep progressing. There is also the absence of physical touch. On the one hand, students don’t receive hands-on adjustments, so we have to explain what the practices should feel like. On the other hand, depending on if they have access to people to practice on, students may not get to practice their hands-on adjustments either.

And finally, in-person training often provides a deep community experience that is harder to create in a virtual format. But these are the only trade-offs that I have observed and that are easily manageable with the right course structure.

YT: So, do you believe that online is better?

Marylene Henry: What I believe doesn’t matter, but it’s what my students say! I have students who started in-person training before the pandemic and moved to our school to continue their journey online. They have said that they feel that they are learning more, going deeper into their practice, and getting more personal attention and care. To me, that’s the most significant proof.

YT: Is learning how to become a yoga instructor online for everyone?

Marylene Henry: Not quite. While I believe that it is possible to train a complete beginner yogi to become a yoga instructor in-person, achieving yoga certification online requires more yoga practice experience. Online training is also only practical if the student is self-motivated.

Also, Read >>> Five reasons to sign up for yoga teacher training

YT: What should aspiring yoga instructors look for in an online yoga teacher training?

Marylene Henry: Many things can make or break the experience, just like in-person training. I believe that, first and foremost, aspiring yoga instructors should make sure that the training format provides them adequate support during and after the online yoga teacher training.

It’s also essential to make sure that you connect with the teachers and the schools’ approach and that the school is reputed and recognized. Don’t just rely on the school’s sales page; look for past students and ask them about their experience, and ask to talk to the teachers.

Marylene Henry – In short

Whether it’s online on in person, it is an experience that will transform your life, so it’s worth doing the research!

Marylene Henry offers a well-guided online yoga teacher training, find out more here. Also, take a look at the best online yoga streaming platforms to enhance your practice in the comfort of your home.